EJ Montini (Arizona Republic) asks: Who wins the civil war within the Arizona Republican Party – conservatives or cultists? Opinion: Or maybe it’s just a barroom brawl. We’ll see what remains when the dust settles, a political party or a cult.
Among the more apocryphal predictions preceding the recent election was the suggestion that the deep political divisions within the nation would lead to civil war.
Except, that is exactly what’s happening…within the Arizona Republican Party.
Although it’s more of a barroom brawl than a war, sort of like what happens in one of those old Western movies in which the free-for-all that starts inside the saloon spills out into the streets after one of the combatants throws a haymaker and knocks another guy arse over teakettle through the swinging doors.
That would have been GOP Chair Kelli Ward telling Gov. Doug Ducey via Twitter hashtag to “#STHU,” meaning “shut the hell up.”
Ward’s beef with the governor is that he dared to perform his constitutional duty and certify the recent election, which Ward perceives as being disloyal to Donald Trump.
And now, as the kids say, it’s on.
Republicans versus Trump cultists.
First, Ducey responded, “I think what I would say is the feeling’s mutual to her (Ward), and practice what you preach.”
We’re about to find out whether Trump has permanently altered the DNA of what it means to be a Republican?
The president has been spouting the most outrageous conspiracy theories, continually eroding trust in the electoral process and, for the most part, getting away with it. (Consider the Washington Post article about how only 27 congressional Republicans acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election.)
But not every Republican has given up the possibility of being more of a Republican than a Donald Trump cult member. Here is Ducey’s former chief of staff, Kirk Adams, telling state Senator-elect Kelly Townsend: Have you considered counseling? It can help. #promise
Then both Adams and Ducey’s current chief of staff, Daniel Scarpinato, took on Trump-minion Rep. Andy Biggs, with Scarpinato tweeting:
We always knew you were nuts, but you’ve now officially confirmed it for the whole world to see. Congratulations. Enjoy your time as a permanent resident of Crazytown.
Back comes Biggs’ fellow minion Rep. Paul Gosar, pushing a recall of Ducey and tweeting:
My brother @RepAndyBiggsAZ is a patriot. He fights for liberty and common sense. It is a mistake to attack him and the rest of Arizona who have been watching the Gov flail and founder. We expected better. Enough. Signatures are due in mid January.
The fight extends to the Arizona Legislature as well, where Trump minions like Townsend and Rep. Mark Finchem want legislators to overturn election results (not theirs, of course, only the one that went against Trump), while others like Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers refuse.
Bowers issued a statement saying in part, “I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him. But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.”
Elected Republicans in Arizona and all over the country recognize that Trump is now more popular in their states or districts than they are. That has silenced many of them and caused many others simply to fall in line.
But not all, apparently.
Ducey and some others appear willing to put country over party, and to put party over personality.
When the dust clears we’ll find out if the state GOP is a political party or a cult.